State farmers cry foul as Rajasthan plugs canal

HISAR: The Rajasthan government’s drive to crack down on water theft and stop tubewell-based supply for irrigation in the bordering districts of Haryana is set to deepen the problem of irrigation in Hisar and Sirsa villages.

Tribune News Service

Hisar, December 7

The Rajasthan government’s drive to crack down on water theft and stop tubewell-based supply for irrigation in the bordering districts of Haryana is set to deepen the problem of irrigation in Hisar and Sirsa villages.

The Hanumangarh district administration has launched a special drive to dismantle borewells and pipelines laid by Haryana farmers to get water to their fields. A team of Bhadra subdivison of Hanumangarh district has started a survey of the entire border area along the Sidhmukh canal to check the flow of water to Haryana.

SDM, Bhadra, Narendra Singh Kulhari told The Tribune today that while large tracts of Rajasthan remained parched, farmers in the neighbouring villages of Haryana have been stealing water from the canal to irrigate their fields. “We have decided to stop the theft after several complaints came to us. We have detected around 20 such pipelines today. The process to register an FIR is under way”, the SDM said.

Haryana farmers have disputed the charge. Sultan Singh, a resident of Chaudhariwali village, said he had purchased a piece of land along Sidhmukh canal and laid the pipeline to fetch water to irrigate his fields across the border. “I found a sweet water source at about 40 feet along the canal which is the only source of irrigation. The groundwater available at a deeper level is very salty. Since most villages along the Rajasthan border are located at the tail-end of canals, the supply is inadequate”, he said.

Virender Punia, a farmer leader in Budak village in Hisar, said groups of farmers came together to purchase land in Rajasthan and lay pipeline to fetch water.

“It costs about Rs 20 lakh to fetch water from Rajasthan. It can’t be termed illegal,” said Punia, adding around 20 villages in Hisar and Sirsa districts get water from Rajasthan. “They are in double trouble now. On the one hand, they face criminal charges, on the other, they face the risk of their crops getting destroyed in the absence of water supply,” he said.

“Two decade back, Haryana provided water to several Rajasthan villages before the Sidhmukh canal was dug up” Punia recalled.

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